Weekly Press Review – 3 August 2012

Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Petersson is back in the news this week, accusing officials within her department of being corrupted by poaching syndicates. She stated that attempts were being made to ‘destabilise’ her department both internally and externally and also that ‘an overall cleaning-up operation of the department’ was taking place. The investigation which led to the discovery of the corruption initially focused on perlemoen poaching only, but is now also focusing on the allocation of quotas, permits, the transfer of fishing rights and the preferential treatment that certain businesses receive from the fisheries branch.

It would appear that our poor minister once again has her hands full. Perhaps if she had done a better job running her department thus far, she wouldn’t be dealing with this particular mess – amongst many others.

According to an article published in the Cape Times this week, it would appear that not only is the concept of male chivalry at sea a thing of the past, but it was a complete myth to begin with.

After a study of 18 major maritime disasters carried out by Mikael Elinder of Uppsala University in Stockholm, with the exception of the Titanic, where the captain ordered his crew to allow women and children to leave the sinking vessel first, there is no evidence to suggest that this is in any way the norm during a maritime disaster. It would appear that it is more a case of every man for himself.

The study analysed maritime disasters as far back as 1852 and found that in most cases more men than women and children survived and, even more alarming, was the fact that the crew themselves had the greatest survival rate.

Perhaps the world at large has been too critical of the poor captain of the stricken Costa Concordia for abandoning ship before anyone else? He was only doing what anyone else would do if their ship was going down – get off.

Or rather, perhaps this is just a sad reflection of our society as a whole; that everyone is indeed only looking out for number one.


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